The Hardest Kind of Teacher – #WiseWordsWednesday

The Hardest Kind of Teacher

“Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward.” – Oscar Wilde

Have you ever heard smoke alarms go off in vacation condos?

If you’ve ever heard a vacation condo smoke alarm, you know it is a very displeasing sound, as alarms should be.

For two years in a row now I have had the displeasure of hearing the exact same vacation condo smoke alarm blaring for all the world to hear. It wouldn’t be so bad except that when the smoke alarm goes off in our condo unit it goes off in all four of the condo units. 

Now I know you’re asking yourself, “What lesson does this experience teach us?”

Well, there are a few simple life lesson reminders ringing in these alarms.

1. If you ring the alarm too many times, people will ignore your cries for help. It goes along with the proverbial, “Don’t cry wolf.” Our alarm went off so many times last summer that all of the men hanging out telling fish stories on the deck totally ignored the blaring beeps because they didn’t think there was a problem, when in fact, there was a pot boiling over inside as I attending to a bike cycle accident booboo outside.

During our most recent vacation, I set the alarm off repeatedly trying to make a breakfast casserole, no one came running to our aid because they believed there was no fire. They were right; there was no fire, but what if there had been?

The experience lesson here is: If you know an alarm is faulty be prepared to not have anyone come to your aid.

2. The alarms in the other condo units are just as touchy as the one in our room. Unfortunately, this does not stop my panic reaction when I hear the smoke alarm sound. I am always ready to jump up and rescue whomever is in danger. This is stressful because I haven’t had to rescue anyone but went through the adrenaline and fear of needing to save someone with each and every siren sound.

This life lesson is very similar to #1: If you know someone else has a faulty alarm, be weary of always rushing to their aid. It may not always be a fire you can put out or even need to attempt to squelch. It may just be another hot mess looking for someone to rescue them from their insecurities or poor choices.

Let the lessons of touchy fire alarms and emotional appeals allow us to make positive choices as we determine how we use our energy. Don’t go pushing that panic button if panic isn’t needed and you don’t have to suit up and charge in every time someone signals for help. Make the most of your intents and use your energy in real emergencies.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Always know where the emergency exits are. Just in case…

 

History in Childhood

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The timeline of my 1st grader’s life according to him.

In a recent Social Studies lesson, my son was learning about timelines. The last activity on the page was to make a timeline of events in his life. Of course we began with when he was born. The only other events he chose to include were getting our dog and starting school. When the time came to add 2020, I asked what he wanted to record for current events.

Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Anthony is stuck at home.”

Those five words spoke volumes. They reflected how our current situation has defined this period in our lives. Stuck.

This assignment reminded me of a homework activity my daughter had last fall. She was to interview family members and ask what event they believed defined their generation. Both hubby and I believed that 9/11 was the defining experience for those of our age. My mother-in-law and father-in-law said Vietnam or Korean Wars. Greg’s grandmother said World War II and a tornado that had hit their hometown. It was funny to me how tragedies seemed to determine our identities. Why is it that we don’t typically use the advent of a new invention or success as the center to what we see in ourselves?

Well, I’ll tell you why.

Success is beautiful and uplifting, but tragedy builds character and resilience. Continue reading “History in Childhood”

That Bucket’s Not Going to Carry Itself

That Bucket's Not Going to Carry Itself

The farm has taught me many lessons. One lesson that will forever stick with me is the idea that a bucket can’t carry itself.

Why, you might ask, would a bucket’s inability to carry itself be a lesson of any value to anyone?

Well, it all started in a calf barn.

When I was 4 years old, the farmer my father worked for gave me a feed scoop. It was orange, plastic, and had a Purina logo embossed in the handle. The purpose of the scoop was to fill the stainless steel bowls that were mounted on the front of each calf’s stall. My purpose for having that scoop was so I could be the filler of those bowls.

I was elated. Those calves were the best part of the farm in my 4-year-old mind. I loved how they smelled like sour milk and straw. I giggled non-stop at the way they sucked on my fingers. I cried when they were sick or when it was time to move them out to pasture with the larger calves. I was proud to be their caregiver.

There was just one problem.

The bucket my father filled with feed weighted more than I did. The task of feeding those sweet, spotted calves was a tough one because I often spilled feed going from bucket to stall and back again. Spilled feed is almost worse than spilled milk, but I wasn’t supposed to cry about either.

I soon became discouraged when my father would lose patience over my slow progress and pick up that burdensome bucket to deftly pour just the right amount of feed into the remaining bowls without so much as spilling one kernel of corn.

Why couldn’t I carry that bucket that way?

Nothing frustrated me more than not being big enough to do a job. My father knew this.

One day I noticed the bucket wasn’t quite full. After a scoop or two, I tested my luck. With some effort I was able to pull it closer to my sweet calves and didn’t have to truck those precious scoops of feed quite so far. I was doing it! I was carrying the bucket! Continue reading “That Bucket’s Not Going to Carry Itself”

Explaining Dr. King to My Children

mlk jr. quote

My two older kiddos have read the I Am Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. book and have had numerous lessons about the way he changed the world, but my 5-year-old had some questions about why he didn’t go to school today.

mlk jr

A terrific book on the life and times of Dr. King

The simple answer was we didn’t go to school today because we are remembering and honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His question in return, “Why?”

Well, where do I start?

I told my son about how African-Americans were not treated equally in America and how Martin Luther King Jr. was a smart and kind man, who tried to get people to work together so that everyone was treated equally. He wanted his children to grow up to have the opportunities all others had. He didn’t want people to have to live in fear of being beaten or left out because of how they looked. Dr. King preached about how peace could and would bring about change if only everyone would open their hearts to its healing powers. He asked people to respond with kindness and understanding instead of anger and hitting. His ideas gave us wonderful guidance as to the ways we should treat one another and resolve our issues.

“Oh, okay,” was my son’s simple reply.

Later my two older kiddos were fighting and my youngest son yelled, “Hey, we are out of school because Marting Luther King says we have to stop fighting! So stop fighting” Continue reading “Explaining Dr. King to My Children”

Sometimes the Fear Won’t Go Away. Do It Anyway. – Wise Words Wednesday

Somes the fear doesn't go away

via Daily Prompt: Brave 

Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid.

As a matter of habit, I don’t watch the news. My husband does though, so the news is on EVERY morning. We start our day catching up on the shootings, bombings, trash-talk Tweets, and the generally tragic state of our world.

I would much rather start the day by watching something like “Friends” or “I Love Lucy,” but hubby would remind me that it is important to know what’s going on in the world and then change the channel.

The story that has been most bothersome to me lately is the one of the four soldiers killed in Niger on October 4th. Victims of an apparent ambush, these men died serving our nation and world as they worked to stop ISIS.

As they served, those men knew that there was much to fear. Their service was intended to assist in ending the evil of ISIS. They were most surely afraid, but their actions reflected the definition of bravery.

If men can face the terror of forces, such as ISIS, can’t we take on horrible happenings on our own fronts? Continue reading “Sometimes the Fear Won’t Go Away. Do It Anyway. – Wise Words Wednesday”

Don’t Let Them Witness Failure

Dont Let Them Witness Failure

Tripping over your own feet. Accidentally shooting yourself with water at a water fountain. Noticing your zipper is unzipped or a shirt button is in the wrong hole. Forgetting someone’s names as you greet them.

These are small but impactful mistakes. It isn’t really the mistake that makes the failure; it’s our attitude. Our “Oops” are only failures, if we allow others to witness us wallowing in our faux pas.

When we make mistakes, we provide ourselves with jumping off points for humor, improvement, and growth.

While we may never stop tripping over our own feet and we can NEVER control the pressure of some water fountains, we can control how we prevent failure from being part of our self-perception.

When we do something right, we LOVE witnesses of our greatness. When we make a mistake, witnesses are worse than the error itself. The truth of the matter is witnessing success is not nearly as powerful as witnessing the triumph of overcoming a potentially fantastic failure.

My children witness me making some pretty terrible mistakes. These massive mistakes allow me the opportunity to show what it looks like to make an “Oops” into an “Oh yeah!” It’s totally okay is they see me fail at an attempt, it’s not okay to let them see me defeated. (I am not saying it’s not okay to suffer a defeat now and then, we just can’t remain defeated.) Every time I wipe out, it is important for them to see me get wipe myself off and try again (sometimes the mistake warrants trying something new all together). Allowing others to see us move on makes that mistake a victory.

If you find yourself in an “Oops” situation, acknowledge the “Oops” and give any witnesses the opportunity to say “Oh yeah!” as you find a successful way on to the next attempt or adventure. Don’t let them witness failure. Give them a front row ticket to the fabulous fortune in your endeavors.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I tell myself that I make a lot of mistakes so that I can make a lot of successes. You tell yourself whatever it takes to make your failures into victories. 😉

 

 

Freedom in the form of Forgetfulness – Wise Words Wednesday

Freedom of Forgetfulness

There are so many things I wish I could forget and even more I wish I didn’t.

As my 20th high school reunion looms, there are words, experiences, and embarrassments I wish I could forget. If I could just forget them, I would be free to worry about what I am going to wear, who is going to watch my kids, or how much older I look than I did in 1997.

However, the teenage angst I imposed on myself and the nature of teenagers made high school tough. So tough, in fact, that I purposefully kept distance from most everything I related to those four hallowed years. Those ugly emotions and insecurities held me captive for two decades. Sometimes I still have butterflies in my stomach, when I run into people from high school.

In the planning of our class reunion, Amanda (class president) hunted me down on Facebook and became my “friend.” I have always admired Amanda’s calm demeanor and terrific sense of humor, so I was like, “Cool. Amanda and I are friends again.” After I became Amanda’s “friend,” Amber, Angie, and Jennifer found me and we became friends again. Then I found Casey and Tamara, and we became “friends” again. I think you can see where this is going. Continue reading “Freedom in the form of Forgetfulness – Wise Words Wednesday”

A New Sheriff in Town – Defining What the Position Means

New Sheriff in Town

I have been doing a lot of thinking about lessons learned and it has been harder than I thought because I had done my homework on the issues and/or problems. I gathered data and information for a couple of years and set a course of direction to move the agency forward.

PastorSheriff_3_t_w600_h475.jpgLessons learned – “means an event or events that were not anticipated or a plan that failed for some reason unknown and you learn the hard way.” (Mike Bonham’s personal definition)

I think that, personally, I have a lot of goals for this agency and it seems to be taking too long, but in reality we are on track. I believe that this is in part because I really want the citizens of the county to be proud of their Sheriff’s Office, but the focus should not be ME, it should be the OFFICE as a whole.

png 1 Lesson one – People try to make it about the Sheriff. And I get it; I’m looked at as the leader. (Still hard) 

png 1 Lesson two—I push hard, the employees and myself to move to perfection and to hit the goals that have been established… (Slow down we will get there.)  

png 1 Lesson Three—With so many projects and initiatives, some can get lost in the push. My hope in is having a handle on prioritizing:

  1. Health and Welfare of the employees
  2. Biggest impact on safety and security for the citizens of the county.
  3. Keep spending within Sheriff’s Office Budget

 

Like I said, this has been a lot tougher assignment than I thought it would be. Thanks for the challenge.

The following I released after a 60 day review:  My hope is you can see the consistence and planning.

Bonham 1.jpgI took office in December, this week and we reviewed the first 60 days on the job.
We wanted a “no drama” transition from the leadership of Carl Fowler, who served as interim sheriff.
We Intensified communication — internally and externally — as we have marked the first 60 days.
We have used Facebook, and a soon an updated website, YouTube videos to push information. We credited the media blitz with leading to the arrest of a fugitives, as a direct results.
“We’re looking for ways to distribute information. It’s a work in progress.”
We have stepped up efforts to arrest dealers, save users who overdose and educate the community.
But, my office has yet to engage the medical community in an effort to reduce abuse of prescription narcotics.

What’s to come:

• Crisis Intervention Training:  to prepare all deputies and staff with intervention methods for dealing with citizens suffering from mental illness crisis. Three staffers will complete the 40-hour training, scheduled in May.

• Increased community outreach with a town hall meeting in Linn and other events. The restructured Community Services Unit , the chaplain program, and the Jr. Deputy program.

• Restarting the “Reserve deputy” program, which allows retired law enforcement officers to volunteer. They must have the same training as full-time officers and can work in a range of activities.

“I’m just pleased to report that we’ve hit the marks on our first 60-day plan. “This is not to say we’re done.”
It is the staff that have been working quickly and professionally to meet my expectation. Turnover has remained low, with only minimum changes — retirements and resignations — since I took office.

“The deputies and men and women of the sheriff’s office have been working hard and I’m proud of these accomplishments. We will continue to work hard to produce a professional, competent and compassionate law enforcement agency the citizens of Osage County can be proud of.”

By: Sheriff Mike Bonham

Guest post for 2017 Lessons Learned in the Last Year Intentergy series.

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Osage County Fair 2016

 

P.S. Last July my children met Sheriff Bonham at the county fair, when he was still running for office. After he shook my five year old’s hand, my son asked, “Why does he want to be the sheriff?” I told him, “Mr. Bonham wants to keep us safe.” My son’s reply, “Okay, I guess we can vote for him.” 🙂  Sheriff Bonham has worked hard to keep lines of communication open with people of our county and safety in the forefront of his tenure. Thank you, Sheriff Bonham, for your willingness to share your personal lessons learned this year. Best of luck to you as you continue to meet these goals and protect our community.

A Year of Lessons – Filling in the gaps

A Year of Lessons – Filling in the gaps via Daily Prompt: Unfinished

A year of lessons.jpg

365 days ago I felt like a ship without a sail. Having made the decision to walk away from teaching after 10 years, my focus was solely on our family and farm. I knew this was the right choice, but the hole where teaching had been left a huge crack in what I knew about myself. Life has a funny way of filling in the cracks. I knew there would be no trouble filling my days with work, but I had no idea how full those days could become.

Working for the farm full time provided wonderful opportunities for physical activity and greater time with our cattle and turkeys, and my husband of course.

png 1 Lesson #1: You can’t schedule life on a farm. The farm will schedule life for you.

Our turkeys and cattle always seem to know when we are in a hurry to get somewhere or when we have made plans for something special. If there is a wedding to attend, you can bet there will be a cow or two out or the turkeys will break their feedline, necessitating the repair and clean up of a couple tons of feed. When the holidays approach, we know to expect the delivery of a flock of poults (baby turkeys) or a cow to go missing. If I am scheduled to be somewhere, you can bet that an electric fencer will go out or a water line will bust and my new appointment will be to the farm supply store to pick up parts or deliver a replacement from the farm shop. Baby calves are born or go missing in the worst weather or at the most inconvenient time, but they are our babies and we drop everything to ensure their safety. Turkeys are not the smartest animals and they will create the biggest messes when it seems we need things to go the smoothest.

png 1 Lesson #2: When you do not hold a scheduled job, people don’t think you work and tell you so. Continue reading “A Year of Lessons – Filling in the gaps”

Walking Between the Drops

Walking Between the Drops

Walk between the drops

The ability to walk between rain drops was a mystery explained to me in the 5th grade. Only angels can walk between the drops.

Between the church and elementary school I attended, there was a parking lot. On Tuesday and Friday mornings, all of the school children attended mass. On rainy days we would dash across that parking lot from school to church and back again.

From underneath the overhang of the rectory, Msgr. Huels used to taunt us with, “Only angels can walk between the drops.”

I never understood the meaning behind this jeer, but I knew I really wanted to be able to walk between those rain drops. I was secretly scared of Monsignor. His gravely voice and demeanor intimidated me.

In the spring of my 5th grade year, one of my classmates (who was not afraid) returned Monsignor’s taunt with, “Nobody can walk between the drops!”

I didn’t want to get wet, but I was also too scared to move away from the scene.

The growlly voice of the old priest snapped, “Those rain drops tell me who the little devils are.” Continue reading “Walking Between the Drops”